smoky bacon potato skins
PREP TIME 20 mins, COOK TIME 1 hr 20 mins
6 baking potatoes, about
2 3⁄4in (7cm) long, scrubbed
1 tbsp peanut or sunflower oil, plus extra for brushing
3 smoked bacon slices
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp smoked paprika or ancho
salt and freshly ground
3⁄4 cup finely grated cheese, such as sharp Cheddar
2 green onions, trimmed and
sour cream, to serve
snipped chives, to serve
1 Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Put the potatoes in a bowl and drizzle over 1 tbsp of oil. Rub the potatoes all over with the oil, then pierce them with a fork and set them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes, turning once, until they are cooked through and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
2 Meanwhile, put the bacon on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning once, until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside to cool, then dice it very finely.
3 Turn the oven up to 450ºF (230ºC). When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them horizontally in half. Scoop out the insides, leaving a small amount of potato attached to the skin to make a sturdy shell. Brush the potato shells all over with a little oil, then put them back on the baking sheet, skin-side up. Bake them for 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
4 While the shells are crisping, place the scooped-out cooked potatoes in a bowl, add the sour cream and smoked paprika, and season well. Mash until smooth.
5 Set aside a little of the grated cheese and add the rest to the mashed potato mixture, along with the chopped crispy bacon and the green onions. Mix well and stuff the filling into the crisped shells, mounding it up slightly in the center.
6 Top the loaded potato skins with the remaining cheese and bake for a further 10 minutes, until they are golden brown and hot right through. Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream and a sprinkling of snipped chives, if desired.
Cook the potatoes up to 3 days in advance when using the oven for another dish perhaps and chill them until needed.